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PR Newswire
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American Red Cross Contributions to Japan Disaster Response Increase to Nearly $245 Million

New $35 million donation means that almost 90 percent of U.S. donations have been sent to Japan in four months

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The American Red Cross is making a $35 million donation to the Japanese Red Cross, bringing its contributions to the country's earthquake and tsunami response to nearly $245 million - about 90 percent of the money donated.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090108/RedCrossLOGO)

The new donation to the Japanese Red Cross comes as Japan continues to work to recover from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami as well as newer developments such as Sunday's aftershock, last month's flooding, and the onset of summer heat.

The Japanese Red Cross has made significant progress four months after the devastating disasters struck the country's northeast coastline on March 11. The American Red Cross is backing more than half of the Japanese Red Cross' $350 million aid program designed to meet the continuing emergency and longer-term recovery needs of more than 90,000 families living in evacuation centers and temporary housing.

With funding provided by the American Red Cross, more than 36,000 families have already received a set of household appliances, including a washing machine, refrigerator, microwave, rice cooker and hot water dispenser, for their temporary homes. As the temperature rises, seasonal appliances, such as electric fans, will be considered for future distributions.

"The number of families receiving appliances has grown exponentially in recent weeks - which is a good indicator that people are transitioning out of the evacuation centers and into more comfortable accommodations, such as pre-fabricated houses and vacant apartments provided through the government," said Alex Mahoney, disaster management expert with the American Red Cross.

Ultimately, the Red Cross will provide 90,000 families with household appliances while also improving water and sanitation systems and providing comfort items for those who still remain at the evacuation centers.

The Red Cross also continues to build up the number of caregivers and psychological support teams working in evacuation centers and nursing homes to address mental health issues, post traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety amongst survivors. The Japanese Red Cross has established two psychological support centers and deployed more then 465 counselors to work with the affected population. As of late June, nearly 9,400 survivors had benefited from this outreach.

With major damage to health and care services, a main yet longer-term priority is to support medical facilities, such as hospitals, clinics and care homes. In Ishinomaki, the Red Cross is planning to boost local health services by building and equipping temporary medical facilities over the next few months. In the meantime, specially-equipped beds are being donated to existing nursing homes across three prefectures where many elderly people require special care. The Japanese Red Cross has already delivered nearly 375 of these beds and helped nearly 130 schools replace basic nursing care supplies.

In addition to the funds contributed by the American Red Cross and other international partners, the Japanese Red Cross has said all of the donations collected from Japanese citizens will be applied to a cash grant program. To date, the Japanese Red Cross has sent approximately $2.9 billion to 15 municipalities charged with distributing cash grants to the survivors who have lost their homes, loved ones and livelihoods as a result of the tsunami.

As of July 7, the American Red Cross had raised more than $275 million for the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami response. This figure includes more than $4.5 million in text donations. As these pledges are fulfilled and other donations are received, the American Red Cross will make additional contributions to the Japanese Red Cross recovery plan.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization - not a government agency - and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

SOURCE American Red Cross

© 2011 PR Newswire